Heartbreak Forces Awareness of How Alive You Are: Now, Now’s Threads
by Charissa Lock
Dreamy and dark this album begins in a state of muffled gloominess that instantly sparks the audience’s curiosity. For those of you who hate happy endings and appreciate Nicholas Sparks’ hopeless climaxes in his novels, as well as movies like Cold Mountain, you will love Threads right from the beginning. However, I threw something at the TV after watching all 5 hours of Cold Mountain with an ending like that (years later rage is still present). Of course, this does not mean I don’t care for the trio from Minneapolis; I just had to come to terms with the fact that their album’s theme is sadder than most.
This may have to do with the fact that I’m female and can connect to that exact feeling the vocalist duo Cacie Dalager and Jess Abbott touch upon “I can’t call you up without a reason… I can drive for hours to your house in the summer, but I could stay for longer if you wanted me to.” As much as most of us try to not be subjugated like this, we sometimes are. I recently had a discussion about this topic with a close friend of mine. We’re both very independent women, but the second relationships are involved and significant others, we completely dissolve this hard exterior and often wind up projecting the image Now, Now has bluntly described. With all the female independent boasting that is streaming around us, this silent emotional devotion is seen as a huge negative. However, Now, Now spends most of their tracks singing about it because it hasn’t gone away, and I am quite impressed with them for doing so.
Okay, so you’re a guy and you’ve just skipped the whole last paragraph, but don’t skip anymore. This album is not a sad, sappy chick flick. It definitely possesses this dreariness, but does so in an elegant way. There’s a flood of delicate, yet instrumentally intense moments. The themes are largely relationship or insomnia driven, but this isn’t Jewel. Now, Now has layers of instruments you may not hear the first few times around, and they are quite beautiful. Nothing is boring here, just pumped with flawless guitar changes and keyboards that somehow don’t feel like they’re keyboards. That last line may sound silly, but every sound on Threads seems like it’s created by a separate and magical instrument. This task is quite impressive when thinking about how many artists use keyboards and synths, but quiet and quick bells, or slight ‘dings’ illustrate the image of everything being done separately (“Separate Rooms,” “Magnet”).
With vocals reminiscent to Sheri Dupree-Bemis and a younger Straylight Run’s Michelle DaRosa you gladly will enjoy being pulled into Threads. And as you try to take in as much as what’s being given to you, know that you’re not listening to a band that never grew out of their teenage goth days. Cacie Dalager (vocals, guitar, and keyboards), Jess Abbott (vocals and guitar), and Bradley Hale (drummer and backing vocals) seem to be a young energetic group with pictures of them goofing off and having fun on their website. Their album touches on the topics we tend not to discuss, which is brave and respectable, but they are doing so in a healthy and, we can all be grateful, non-black-lipstick way. Threads is a sorrowfully fresh album that does not get too messy in the topics, but does project less desirable notions while mesmerizing your ears with beautiful instrumentation and production.
TAGS: BeJEWELed, Past, Past, big words & subtext, relationship bands, Prince, Nicole Kidman sucks